Ask my son to write up his Christmas list, and he’ll hand you the LEGO catalog with about a hundred things circled.
While I love watching him sit and build everything from the Space Shuttle to a mulitcolored house for all his LEGO mini figures, there is a new game in town that turns building into a competitive sport and uses, of all things, my iPhone.
The new Life of George game doesn’t replace the LEGO bricks you know, love and step on in the dark. Instead it marries the physical act of building to an online game that you can play alone or against a friend.
Though recommended for kids ages 14+, I’d recommend it for kids and adults who are really good at LEGO building: My 7 year old often was quicker at figuring out the pieces he needs than I was, and let’s just say I’m a bit past the age of 14.
The physical game pieces include a bunch of LEGO bricks and a cardboard playboard which is covered in little black polka dots. At just under $30, it does seem a bit pricey for what is inside the box, but at least the app is free. Install it on your iPhone, then try your hand at the game: Copy the picture that appears on the screen, lay it down on the gameboard and take a photograph, before the time runs out.
I found that I had to shut off the sound of the clock ticking or my hands started sweating too much to handle the bricks. It also took me a few tries to center my photo of my game board correctly to get the most points, and I’m not sure I always understand the scoring. And, yes, time ran out more than once.
The two-player mode had me challenging my 7-year-old son to building for speed and accuracy over five rounds. But, really, LEGO did you have to call one of us “Loser” and one of us “Champ” after all of that?
The fact that neither of us hurt ourselves beyond a broken nail is pretty much testament that we are both winners. -Christina
You can find the Life of George game at the LEGO store and download the free iPhone app from iTunes.